instagram vs snapchat stories

Sharing Your Stories: Instagram vs. Snapchat

As digital marketers it’s our job to make sure that we stay on top of all the latest marketing trends and outlets which is why we were pretty excited when Instagram released its new “Stories” feature yesterday.

Stories allows you to record videos or images within the app (or from your camera roll as long as they were taken within the last 24 hours) and post them together to make up your “story”. That story then lasts for 24 hours and then is gone forever. You can add text, filters and draw on top of these photos and videos in order to give them a little extra flair as well.

Is this starting so sound familiar yet?

Yes, Instagram has basically stolen the idea from Snapchat and incorporated it into their own network. And this isn’t the first time that Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, has tried to copy a competitor’s idea and attach it to their own network, but it might the first time that I’ve actually liked what they’ve done.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy snapchat stories and the idea of them, but in my opinion, Snapchat shot themselves in the foot with the latest update called “Memories”. The Memories update allows users to upload photos and videos from their phone and incorporate them into their stories, no matter when they were taken.

The idea might sound like a good one, allowing people to share more of their content with the world, but the whole allure of Snapchat was that people had to use the camera within the app to show what they were doing at that particular point in time. It didn’t allow for Photoshopping, or enhancements, to any of the content. It was real and raw and that’s what I loved about it.

Now granted, from what we’ve observed since Snapchat unveiled the Memories feature to some users, we have only seen a couple of the people we follow actually use it to upload past content. The majority of the content curated within the Snapchat Stories is still content taken by the user while they are experiencing something, but I still think opening up that door was a bad move by Snapchat. We’ll have to wait and see how many people start using it once the feature rolls out to everyone.

Fast forward to yesterday and Instagram’s release of their “Stories” mode within the app. It functions exactly how Snapchat’s Stories feature functions… almost identically. There are a few subtle differences in the way Instagram handles drawing on the screen and text, and Instagram doesn’t have the Lenses feature that Snapchat has (yet), but other than those, the functionality is almost identical. You tap to skip to the next part of a story, you swipe down to exit out of a story… it’s basically the same.

instagram stories vs snapchat stories

Instagram (left) vs. Snapchat (right)

The only major difference between what Instagram is doing and what Snapchat is doing, aside from the Lenses, is that while Instagram allows you to upload photos and videos from your phone’s gallery, you can only post things to your story that were taken within the last 24 hours.

And that is a much better way to handle giving users the ability to upload past photos and videos.

Since the Stories feature in both apps is meant to give your friends/followers a glimpse into what you’re doing in the present, limiting that ability to only the past 24 hours is exactly how it should be. It gives user the ability to shoot things with whatever camera app they choose (they don’t have to use the app camera), and then they can retain those photos/videos in their phone gallery while also sharing them in their stories. The only downside, just like Snapchat’s Memories, is that it still leaves room for manipulation of the photos and videos before they are published to your Story.

So while both apps have their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to utilizing this new format of sharing your content, there is still one element that Instagram has that we prefer to Snapchat, and that’s the fact that there are twice as many users on Instagram and it’s easier to find people you want to follow.

Now the same argument could be made in Snapchat’s favor, saying that Snapchat is more private and only people you want to know your Snapchat name will have it. But what’s the point of sharing all of this stuff on your Stories if nobody is going to see it? And in fact, Instagram gives you the ability to only show your Stories to people you want to show it to, or block certain people from seeing your Stories.

So while we do get people’s argument that they would rather only share content with people they choose to give their username to, you can still lock down your Instagram Stories pretty well to the point where only the people you want to see them, can see them.

And on top of it, with the size of Instagram’s user base, and the ability to more easily find your friends through your contact list or Facebook, we think that Instagram’s Stories might be a homerun for the social network.

We know that Facebook has a habit of stealing other people’s apps or features and trying to incorporate them into their own, but we really think that they hit the nail on the head with this one… even if they did just straight up steal the idea. Maybe Snapchat should have sold to them when they had the chance?

But don’t worry Snapchatters, we don’t think the majority of young Snapchatters are going to abandon the platform and switch to Instagram, but we do think you’re going to start seeing a lot more Stories from people on Instagram that you don’t see posting on Snapchat.

What Does This Mean for Brands and Marketers?

The main attraction to Instagram for marketers is the sheer amount of users to the platform has, and it’s ability to easily connect them.

We understand that there is definitely potential in having brands use Snapchat in order to engage with their fans, but it takes a lot more work for your fans to find you on the platform. When it comes to Instagram, it’s much easier to acquire a fan base and keep that fan base interacting with your content.

It’s harder to get a sense of how many people you’ve really engaged with on Snapchat because the only metric for analytics is view count. At least with Instagram we can see views, likes, and comments, which gives us a little better of an understanding as to what content is most popular with our fans.

We think that brands are going to continue using Snapchat stories if they are already part of their current marketing strategy, but the audience size of Instagram may be enough to slowly lure some big brands away from putting their dollars behind Snapchat…

We’re very curious about your thoughts on this new Instagram update so hit us up on Twitter or Instagram and let us know what you think!